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Paws and Whiskers temporarily suspends intakes, adoptions due to highly contagious virus

The shelter will be closed until Aug. 27 in order to thoroughly disinfect the shelter and isolate other cats.
Credit: Paws and Whiskers

TOLEDO, Ohio — Paws and Whiskers Cat Shelter says it has temporarily suspended adoptions and intakes of cats after discovering a highly contagious virus in a litter of kittens that was left at the shelter overnight.

The shelter said it two of the kittens had Feline Panleukopenia Virus, a highly contagious virus that is especially hard on kittens.

Paws and Whiskers members say three of the kittens were lost due to the virus despite immediate veterinary care.

FPV is also known as Feline Distemper, and is most commonly transmitted when a susceptible cat has contact with the feces or urine of infected cats. It can also be spread by contact with urine or feces-contaminated items like food bowls, water dishes, clothing, shoes, hands, bedding and litter boxes.

The shelter is now working to thoroughly disinfect the shelter and isolate the other cats to monitor for any additional cases.

Paws and Whiskers will be closed until Aug. 27.

“Unfortunately this happens in shelter environments,” said Annie Danko, Shelter Manager of Paws and Whiskers. “Whenever a kitten or adult cat is brought in, we vaccinate them to protect them. FPV is highly contagious and we use extreme caution and safety measures to reduce the risk. However, there is always a slight risk with all the cats and kittens that are brought in. A litter of kittens was left in a box overnight in front of the shelter. We placed them in intake but unfortunately they were infected with FPV.”

Paws and Whiskers says this is a reminder that if you do rescue a stray kitten to keep it isolated until it can be seen by a vet to help protect any other cats you may have.

Owners should always watch for the symptoms if they think their cat has been around an infected one.

These include but are not limited to vomiting, diarrhea, having a temperature, not eating a not drinking.

“Make sure to isolate the kitten and see a veterinarian as soon as possible. It can spread quickly and keeping your cats up-to-date on vaccinations is so important for this and other communicable diseases," Danko said.

The virus typically does not affect adult cats because they have been through their vaccination shots.

Paws and Whiskers says thoroughly disinfecting the shelter will take considerable expense, with additional veterinary expenses possibly needed to take care of any affected cats.

Right now the kittens are in quarantine, but are getting better and will be able to move around all the other animals very shortly.

If you would like to financially assist the shelter, visit Paws and Whisker's website and click on "Donate."